Warning: A Small Orange Gives Incorrect and Dangerous Backup Advice


Warning: A Small Orange Gives Incorrect and Dangerous Backup Advice

We always recommend making offsite backups away from your host, no matter whether they have a great reputation, or a host that offers premium backup services.  

We do not normally comment on generic posts made by web hosting companies, but this advice on Backups posted by A Small Orange is just not something you should follow. This is especially important considering the amount of complaints we have received about A Small Orange since the start of the year.

The odd thing is that until the last line we thought it was a great post. Warning customers of the importance of backing up their accounts, explaining some options that can be used, such as CodeGuard or VaultPress. It even cautions you against storing backups on your home PC.

But the following is what we take objection to:

But if you’re hosting with A Small Orange, there’s no need to worry. Regardless of what shared plan you’ve picked, we backup your website on the cloud for free everyday.

This flies in the face of all the good advice in that blog post, and as you will see after reading their terms and conditions is just plain incorrect. Clause 17 of A Small Orange Terms and Conditions, is as follows:

17. Backup Services

17.1. Your use of A Small Orange's Services is at your sole risk. This service is provided to you as a courtesy. A Small Orange is not responsible for files and/or data residing on your account. You agree to take full responsibility for files and data transferred and to maintain all appropriate backup of files and data stored on A Small Orange's servers. Any and all backup services provided by A Small Orange, whether paid or not, are offered with no warranty or guarantee of their date, accuracy, and integrity.

17.2. Backups are performed on servers that house shared and reseller packages only. No backups are performed for virtual private server (VPS/VDS), cloud hosting, semi-dedicated or dedicated server packages, unless you specifically purchase an additional service for this purpose. If your hosting account exceeds 100,000 inodes, the account will not be included in A Small Orange's automatic backup process.

17.3. If you ask A Small Orange to restore a backup of your data that is located on a backup server maintained by A Small Orange, you will receive one courtesy backup restore per calendar month. For any further restores within the same calendar month, you agree to pay a non-refundable "restoration fee" of $10.00 per backup restored to complete the request. By requesting that A Small Orange restore a backup for you, whether paid or unpaid, you also confirm a backup restoration will overwrite any and all current data on your account. A Small Orange cannot be held liable if a backup restoration does not complete successfully. A Small Orange will never charge a backup fee to restore a backup to address an error or omission caused by A Small Orange.

Here are the highlights:

  1. Backups are made as a Courtesy only, and should not be relied upon, which the post implies by saying you don't need to worry with the other solutions.
  2. Backups are made for Shared \ Reseller Packages only. Accounts with lots of files (over 100,000 inodes) will not be backed up.
  3. No backups are made for VPS or Dedicated Servers (admittedly they do only reference their shared plans in the post).
  4. Only one backup restoration per month, otherwise you will be charged $10 per restore.
  5. A Small Orange is not liable if a backup fails, or the restore fails.

Furthermore, if their services go down for a prolonged time, and your website and backups are unavailable, you are stuck.

We always recommend making off-site backups away from your web hosting provider, no matter whether they are our top recommended host with a great reputation or a host that offers premium backup services. Setup Amazon S3 backups, VaultPress, CodeGuard, or at the very least download those cPanel backups to your hard drive (not perfect, but an absolute minimum). Just make sure you have your own copy of your files.

Don't risk losing all your hard work (see this example where Arvixe migrated servers, and it was claimed that a server full of accounts was lost without backups). It is not worth it.

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